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Where the goals come from

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There was a nice symmetry with our 2-0 victory against Bolton as it maintained our near two goals per game average over the course of the Premier League season so far - having scored 47 goals in 24 games, 30 at home and 17 on our travels.

Despite the win, there has been plenty of unrest on the blogs and forums over how victory was earned - clearly there is not much love for pragmatism and functionality in grinding out the three points.

With Patrick Vieira now fit for action last night almost certainly provided a glimpse of what will be Roberto Mancini's favoured formation, with a tight, solid central trio of Vieira, aided by Nigel de Jong and Gareth Barry (who, despite constant speculation over his place appears to be a favourite of the Italian's).

What this means of course is the likes of Stephen Ireland, Adam Johnson, Martin Petrov, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Craig Bellamy will be scrapping it out for just one place. Whilst this makes for an exciting bench, it also means there will be plenty of goals sat on the sidelines with not much likelihood of de Jong and Vieira hitting the target this season and Barry having only registereda solitary strike since his arrival.

The goals last night were scored by Carlos Tevez and Emmanuel Adebayor, the first choice pairing, and our reliance on the attacking pair will become even more marked between now and the end of the season. Our goalscoring record this season looks as follows:

 

Tevez 13
Adebayor 9
Bellamy  6
Petrov 4
Wright-Phillips 3
Richards 3
Ireland 2
Santa Cruz 2
Lescott 1
Barry 1
Toure 1
Garrido 1
Kompany 1


Tevez and Adebayor therefore have accounted for 47% (22 of 47) of our Premier League goals so far this season, and whilst we will undoubtedly have a more solid, stoical feel to the side it is a real worry that the lack of goals from elsewhere in the side could hinder aspirations of a top four finish.

That said, Mancini's has overseen four clean sheets since his arrival at the helm, yet he has yet to rid the issue of our poor away form. Our home record has continued apace though and is undoubtedly Champions League form so Mancini will know that it is what we achieve on our travels that could determine whether finish in or out of the top positions come the end of the season.

If the trade off to achieve that is a reigning in of some of our attacking instincts then that will be a price to be paid, but to do so he will have to hope that Tevez and Adebayor can maintain the form they have shown for the most part this season as we will become ever more dependent upon them.